Visiting one of our Seaside Shops - Looe Lifestyle

It was the turn of our Digital Media Officer, Jan to head out to spend a #DayInTheLife of another one of our shops – this time she travelled to the seaside town of Looe to meet the team and spend some time getting to know how the shop works.  Jan takes up the story;

“I had spoken to Looe Lifestyle Shop Manager Julie before my visit, who proffered sound words of advice to me – wear layers, flat shoes and if you get here early you can get into the Harbour Car Park – and her advice was spot on!  I was indeed fortunate to be able to park in that car park literally just opposite the shop and was greeted by the most fabulous view of the river.

Julie and Assistant Manager Suzie met me at the door and gave me a guided tour of the shop floor, it’s sorting/steaming room, stock rooms and office all spread over 3 floors.  Then after a round of coffees and teas I went back down on to the shop floor to be partnered up with volunteer Sandra for the morning.  Sandra tells me she’s been volunteering for the Looe team for about 8 years now and lives locally so enjoys the walk to and from her home to the shop.  That is of course, when she’s not helping out the “Looe In Bloom” team planting up with the town a blaze of colour during the summer months in hanging baskets, planters and the like.

Before the shop got too busy, Julie told me that her package of new shop messaging items has just arrived (all designed in house by our PR and Communications Team working with our Retail Management Team!)  There are shelf edge message strips, coat hanger covers, mirror stickers, posters, message cubes and more – all designed to tell shoppers that they are in a Cornwall Hospice Care shop, what their purchases help to fund, different ways to help and so on – all to help raise awareness of what we do and why.

So my first job of the day involved putting some of these items out.  The shelf edge message strips were a bit of a challenge, making sure they adhered to the shelves properly while at the same time being level with no bumps!  The other items were very easy to put into place however, so the shelves, clothes rails and fittings soon had their messaging items proudly in place.

It wasn’t long before the shop started to get busy and as Sandra explained to me as we made a start on sorting through donated bags and scarves to be put out on the shelves, Looe is a mecca for tourists to the area, with the railway station just up the road from the shop and lots of coach tours stopping off in the town.  All this means that one minute the shop can have 1 or 2 customers in and the next a whole coach-load of shoppers.

As the day went on, I enjoyed listening to all the different accents of the shoppers crossing our threshold – soft lilting Welsh accents mingling with Mancunian, Yorkshire and Essex twangs – people enjoying their holidays from all over the country including a few European tourists too.

Julie and Suzie then brought more donated clothing down the stairs along with more tea and coffee to keep us going.  In a quick chat, I found out that both of them started off as volunteers for Cornwall Hospice Care, before applying to work for us.   Julie decided to volunteer as a way to meet people when her family decided to relocate to Cornwall a number of years ago.  It just goes to prove you never know where it might lead when you volunteer!

We had a quick stop for lunch in the office at the very top of the 3rd floor – Julie sprinted up the stairs while I struggled to keep up!  Julie’s turn of speed is no doubt down to the healthy eating and exercise kick that she set herself earlier in the year.  She explained she’d been running through the town and out along the coast path to Hannafore Point and decided to sign herself up for the Burrator 10k race recently, which she completed in the very respectable time of 59.02, finishing 214 out of 517 participants and coming 13th overall for her age group.  Not a bad achievement for a first race and almost as a bit of an afterthought she also raised £80 in sponsorship for Cornwall Hospice Care from family, friends and customers!

The afternoon saw volunteers Carol and Annie arrive – they enjoy volunteering together and told me they like having fun together in the shop, making the customers smile and laugh.  Suzie asked them to have a go at our #TwentyPoundChallenge and put together a whole outfit which would cost £20 or less and before I knew it Annie was off to the clothes rails searching out a summer outfit – she found a summery dress for £5, shoes for £4 and a hat for £5.  Carol then appeared with a cute bag to accessorise the outfit for another £4.50.  The whole outfit looked great and totalled £18.50.

As we talked we all mentioned the clothes we’ve ended up buying from our shops, and just to prove a point I spy a top for myself that would be great for work, plus a smart little cardigan to suit my daughter who needs something suitable for her work experience week.  By the time Carol rang my purchases through the till we realised it’s almost the end of the working day.  I said my farewells to the team, but I know I’ll be back soon, after all “I do like to be beside the seaside” as the song goes.

Inspired by this story? Find out more about becoming a volunteer